GrammarPhile Blog

Ditch These Phrases from Your Business Communications

Posted by Kimberly Largent, aka Persnickety Editor   Aug 22, 2019 7:30:00 AM

Stop SignToday, the Persnickety Editor is suggesting you ditch certain phrases from your writing. Review the sentences below and try to identify these oft-used phrases found in business communications that are wordy, awkwardly written, have no clear meaning, make you chuckle when you actually picture in your mind what is written, and simply don’t belong in a business communication. Caution: There could be more than one per sentence…

  1. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
  2. Let’s be clear: If we don’t see an increase in our sales, we’ll need to lay off some employees.
  3. I’d love the opportunity to show you some samples.
  4. If you’d like to discuss this further, my door is always open.
  5. If you’d like more information on our latest software release, please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.
  6. We’re the best candidate to provide this service due to our breadth and depth of experience.
  7. Thanking you in advance for your participation in this campaign.
  8. Candidates for this job should be out-of-the-box thinkers.
  9. In order to increase our sales, we need to focus on the low-hanging fruit.
  10. To be perfectly honest, it was not on my radar.
  11. Look, we can do this if we put our heads together.
  12. Going forward, we will no longer use this vendor.
  13. If this project fails, don’t worry as we have several more in the pipeline.
  14. We need to raise the bar in order to eliminate some of the competitors.
  15. Let’s touch base again in a month to see how the project is coming along.
  16. When we drill down into the data, we see that we can maximize profits by putting more boots on the ground.
  17. I’m disappointed to report that although our team hit the ground running, we were unable to meet our quota because some team members were injured upon ground impact.
  18. I’ve got this covered. Putting out fires is in my DNA.
  19. Ping me in a month and we’ll reevaluate.
  20. Unfortunately, we will not be able to service your accounts as your needs are outside our wheelhouse.
  21. We do all the heavy lifting for our clients.
  22. It’s the uber of ______________ (insert a thing…any thing).
  23. The VP threw the CEO under the bus at the very spot where the rubber meets the road.
  24. Any sentence with any form of the word “synergy”!

Some professional rewrites or commentary:

  1. If you have any questions, call me. (Does anyone else picture in their mind’s eye an executive with a very long arm reaching out to tap the shoulder of another exec?)
  2. What? Were you being murky previously?
  3. The word “love” doesn’t belong in a business communication. How about: I’d enjoy the opportunity…
  4. There’ll be that one instance when an employee wants to talk to you … only to find that your door is not only closed but also locked.
  5. For more information on our latest software release, call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx. (This is not a high school essay where you have to reach 500 words.)
  6. I’d explain this one to you, but I simply struggle to not transpose to “dedth and breapth.” Just what does this really mean?
  7. Thank you for participating in this campaign. (When I receive anything that includes the closing “Thanking you in advance,” my immediate thought is, “Well, you’re rather presumptuous. You think you’re not providing me with an out since you’ve thanked me already. Hah!”
  8. First of all, “out-of-the-box” is a phrase coined by the tech sector to mean hardware that is ready to go once it is removed from the box. “Outside the box,” which is the unwanted phrase that should have been used here, means to think in a unique manner, be creative. So why not just say so?
  9. Unless you run an orchard, this terminology doesn’t belong in business.
  10. To anyone who opens a sentence with “To be perfectly honest,” I ask, “What? Were you not being honest previously?” And please tell me where you are an air traffic controller so that I can avoid flying into your airport if you're missing things on your radar...
  11. Let’s work together to accomplish this goal.
  12. Can anyone really go backward? “We will no longer use this vendor” is quite clear.
  13. I have a petroleum pipeline that runs through my backyard; perhaps that’s why use of this word annoys me. Maybe both will dry up.
  14. I picture a track and field competition each time I come upon this phrase in a business document.
  15. Let’s reevaluate in a month.
  16. Unless your real-life objective is to drive sales by increasing your inventory of boots displayed during your outdoor sale, rephrase as: The reports indicate we can maximize profits by increasing staffing.
  17. Unfortunately, we did not meet our goal.
  18. DNA comprises nucleotides—nothing business-related.
  19. Ping me? PING me? Who thinks up this stuff?!
  20. Michael, row your boat ashore …
  21. What if the client sells helium balloons?
  22. It’s the be-all and end-all. Oops, that should have been No. 25.
  23. Ouch!
  24. I have never read Steven Covey’s book, so I’m not sure I could adequately explain “synergy.” Care to try?                     


Now that you’ve read mine, time to share yours. What are those phrases that irritate you when you come upon them in business communications? Humorous commentary welcome!

Test yourself even more. Take our word quiz:  Do You Know the Correct Word?



Topics: business phrases to stop using

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